“Warrington” Cast-On

The “Warrington” Cast-On Tutorial by Elinor of Spacekitty!
Photos by S, my sister.

So, this is the cast-on I nearly always use, unless disaster strikes. It is perfect, in my mind. It is stretchy, it is neat, it doesn’t get weird and loopy, it doesn’t come apart, it doesn’t require a predetermined amount of yarn. Unless I find this cast-on somewhere else with a formal name, I’m calling it the Warrington Cast-On. Warrington is my mum’s middle name, and my mum taught this cast-on to me, and Warrington sounds better for a cool name than Ann does. You know how it is.

So, here we go! As always, pictures link to Flickr, and can be enlarged.

Step One:
Make a slip knot. Leave a tail long enough to sew down later, but it actually doesn’t matter! Now put it on your needle of choice. I’m using DPNs, but that doesn’t matter either. I was casting on for a sock.

Step Two:
With the needle in your left hand, wrap the yarn around your right index finger and thumb, and grab the yarn attached to the ball with the rest of your fingers. The yarn goes clockwise from the needle at 9, around your index at 12, thumb at about 4, and then to the middle.

Step Three:
With the tip of the needle, pick up the strand of yarn that runs from your thumb to the middle. Apparently, I also hold down the other stitches with the index finger of my left hand. Pick up the strand from underneath, not above, otherwise you will run into trouble.

Step Four:
Now get the tip of the needle over top of the strand that runs from index finger to thumb. Imagine you’re aiming, with the tip of the needle, for the first joint of your index finger (the metacarpophalangeal joint, if you want to get technical… ;D).

Step Five:
Run the needle tip up along your index finger, basically looping the yarn that runs from index finger to thumb around the tip of the needle. Be gentle: don’t stab yourself.

Step Six:
Drop the yarn around your index finger off of your index finger. Again, be gentle. Your thumb is going to head for the tip of the needle, which is good.

Step Seven:
Put the loop of yarn on your thumb over the tip of the needle. Otherwise you get stuck. Again, put the loop of yarn that’s around your thumb over the tip of the needle.

Step Eight:
Drop the loop off of your thumb. You’re still holding the needle in your left hand, and the yarn end in your right hand.

This is what the stitch should look like as you pull it snug.

Step Nine:
Pull the loop tight, and re-wrap your yarn to start at the beginning (step 2).

Cast on as many stitches as you need for your project. I do not recommend this cast-on for yarn that is a single ply, like Malabrigo. This cast-on ends up twisting the yarn quite a bit, and I guarantee that it will fuck up your one-ply yarn, specifically by untwisting it and making it break. Use a cable cast-on or a knitted cast-on or something else.

But otherwise, I use this for everything. Sock cuffs, sweater hems, sweater sleeves, hats. It’s good for ribbing and stockinette, perfect for starting right in pattern, and totally neutral. No one side is the knit-side or the purl-side of the cast-on.

Questions? Comments? Leave a comment on this post, and I’ll get back to you. Cheers! Enjoy.



  1. That looks complicated. I am, however, really impressed that you know what a metacarpophalangeal joint is. I don’t think I ever knew that. 😉

    It’s a nice photo-tutorial, though. I’ll have to try it if I ever finish knitting this Argosy thing.

  2. Thanks for posting this! You taught me this cast-on when I took your class at Lovelyarns, but I couldn’t remember it when I tried to use it. I’ve bookmarked this page for future use.

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